Understanding Emotional Empathy at Postgraduate Business Programs: What Does the Use of EEG Reveal for Future Leaders?

Dimitriadis, Nikolaos and Lambert, steve and Taylor, Michael and Venerucci, Matteo Understanding Emotional Empathy at Postgraduate Business Programs: What Does the Use of EEG Reveal for Future Leaders? Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning. ISSN 2042-3896

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Abstract

Purpose
This paper focuses on the leaders’ ability to recognise and empathise with emotions. This is important because leadership and particularly transformational leadership are principally focused on an individual’s social interactions and their ability to identify emotions and to react empathetically to the emotions of others (Psychogios and Dimitriadis, 2020). Many leadership theorists suggest the ability to have and display empathy is an important part of leadership (Bass, 1990; Walumbwa, et. al., 2008).
Design/methodology/approach
To examine the extent to which those who work in jobs with a significant element of leadership education can recognise and empathise with emotions, ninety-nine part- time postgraduate executive MBA students took part in an emotional recognition test. First, all participants were shown a sequence of pictures portraying different human facial expressions and the electrical activity in the brain as a result of the visual stimuli were recorded using an electroencephalogram (EEG). The second stage of the research was for the participants to see the same seven randomised images, but this time, they had to report what emotion they believed they had visualised and the intensity of it on a self-reporting scale.
Findings
This study demonstrated that the ability to recognise emotions is more accurate using EEG techniques compared to participants using self-reporting surveys. The results of this study provide academic departments with evidence that more work needs to be done with students to develop their emotional recognition skills. Particularly for those students who are or will go on to occupy leadership roles.
Originality
The use of neuroscientific approaches has long been used in clinical settings. However, few studies have applied these approaches to develop our understanding of their use in social sciences. Therefore, this paper provides an original and unique insight into the use of these techniques in higher education.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: ‘This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/HESWBL-09-2020-0218/full/html). Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.'
Keywords: Competency, Higher Education, Skills, Emotion, Empathy, MBA, Leadership
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: Mike Taylor
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2021 13:25
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 13:25
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/3383

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